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Posted On: 06/25/18 6:42 PM
San Diego State’s second session of its team camp proved to be a very telling weekend of basketball, both regionally and beyond.
We’ll start with the San Diego storylines, which were plentiful.
Vista proved to be the surprise of the weekend, rolling through big-time opponents after looking lackluster a week earlier in Orange County. The Panthers took a powerful Balboa School to the wire in the championship game before falling 51-49.
Foothills Christian avenged its CIF Open Division championship loss by defeating Mission Bay in a showcase game, and DJ Carter-Hollinger looked very impressive all weekend.
And Boogie Ellis suited up for Mission Bay, a story in itself (more about that later).
Here were the standouts from the weekend’s camp.
The 6-3 Panthers guard has long been identified as a promising prospect due to his physical gifts and defensive prowess, but has struggled at times with his offensive consistency. This weekend, Hilstock managed to put it all together, knocking down shots from the perimeter, attacking the basket and finishing around – and above – the rim, and creating scoring opportunities for his teammates. When he does this, there are very few two-way guards with his ability in the 2019 class.
San Diego State was three coaches deep at all of Brown’s games, and for obvious reasons. Brown has physical gifts you can’t teach – an enormous wingspan and jaw-dropping athleticism – but he also shows flashes of improved skill level. He is most comfortable attacking from the wing and short corner to his dominant hand, and can finish above the rim. When his feet are set, he can knock down shots off the catch out to the college three. Brown, however, must improve his body control on both ends (overruns plays on defense, doesn’t get great position on the defensive boards) in order to reach his potential.
Cisse reminds me of a more skilled Larry Sanders (Milwaukee Bucks). Undersized at 6-7 for a five, Cisse compensates with elite athleticism and length, an endless motor and excellent defensive instincts. In one possession, he will guard a team’s center and their point guard, and not skip a beat. He is an impressive rebounder, and a threat to finish an offensive board above the rim at all times. As he refines his handle and his left hand, his dominance will only grow.
Morris’ improvement from this time a year ago to now is remarkable. In the Panthers surprise run to the finals, Morris showed off the complete offensive arsenal, scoring off the bounce and from mid range, complementing his outside shooting prowess. Defensively, Morris uses his remarkable length to pressure the defense and create steals in the passing lanes. Much like his older brother – CSU Dominguez Hills-bound Isaiah – Makiah is peaking at the right time as a prospect.
Pope and his brother Michael are polarizing prospects to some observers due to not passing the “eye test.” But they are among the most productive players in the gym, and Bryce Pope this weekend was very strong. The beefier of the twins is a bona fide scorer from all three levels. Additionally, he can uses his strength to overpower guards in the post, where he is very skilled. And Pope makes up for his lack of elite length on the defensive end with effort and improving lateral quickness.
Ellis returned to the Mission Bay lineup after the NBA Players Association Top 100 and his tour of duty with the Oakland Soldiers this spring. He didn’t disappoint, lighting up the scoreboard in his team’s four exhibition matchups (they didn’t compete in bracket play). The wiry combo guard has improved his explosiveness and quickness off the bounce, making it easy to get where he wants to go on the floor. But his biggest improvement has been as a game manager and a facilitator. Ellis is a much more willing passer than in previous viewings, and made some very nice decisions off the bounce for teammates. SDSUs entire staff was on hand for his games, and are recruiting him with a sense of urgency.
Carter Hollinger’s weekend was cut short due to a abrasion below his eye that required stitches. But he was very impressive all weekend long. In his matchup against Mission Bay’s Ronnie Latting, Carter-Hollinger used his improved handle to create off the dribble for himself and teammates. And very few players possess Carter-Hollinger’s nose for the ball on the glass. He outrebounded Latting by a wide margin in the win simply by outworking him for position and exploding to the ball. But Carter-Hollinger’s biggest improvement is his ability to consistently hit shots from mid-range and the college three. If he continues to do this, he’ll collect much more D1 interest this summer.
Mojus has hovered under the radar playing for the unheralded prep program and California Select. But this weekend, he was arguably one of the best scoring guards in the gym. Blessed with a long, wiry frame and solid quickness, the righty was great all weekend attacking off the dribble and finishing in the midrange. Mojus also hit timely shots from beyond the college three. He’s also improved his handle and finishing ability with his off hand, though he still needs to improve there. Defensively, he is one of the bettter on-ball defenders in his class, due to his good lateral quickness, active hands and tenacious approach.